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Slimantics: Publishers Clearing House is going to change everything

 

Slim Smith

 

 

I'm probably not the most popular guy around and a lot of that probably has to do with the views I hold, which I have always realized are far, far outside the mainstream here in the state of my birth. 

 

But I expect to be much more popular in a couple of weeks when Publishers Clearing House officially announces that I am its new grand prize winner. 

 

Based on the frequent, warm emails I've received from P.C.H. (yes, we are on familiar enough terms to refer to each other by nicknames), my winning the grand prize is merely a formality. 

 

In fact, P.C.H. is so preoccupied with my winning entry, they are in almost constant email contact. Each day, P.C.H. sends me an email warning me that I need to do just one more thing to validate my entry and, of course, claim the big prize. That's a good thing, too, because I've been doing that "one last step" to verify, submit, confirm, affirm, claim, notify and avow my winning entry for several weeks now. 

 

P.C.H. has gone to great pains to make sure I don't miss any of these one last steps, saying it would be a shame if my prize went to some less deserving or less preferable person. 

 

It has become very personal to P.C.H. 

 

Along the way, perhaps as expression of their fondness for me, P.C.H. has also bombarded me with a daily multitude of "special offers" on "fine products." 

 

I don't like to brag, but I'm pretty sure P.C.H. is hooking me up with deals they would never offer to the average Joe. Do you think P.C.H. would offer the BeeGees' 40 Biggest for 20 percent off to just anybody? Do you think anyone else could buy a Solar Lighthouse lamp for only $24,99? 

 

No, sir. 

 

P.C.H. is practically stalking me. I am all it thinks about. 

 

So, until Feb. 23, when P.C.H. drops all pretense and comes knocking on my door with that first $5,000 check that I'll get weekly for the rest of my life - and then give to a person of my choosing every week for the rest of that person's life - I'm enjoying the "special offers" on many "fine products" I have assembled. In fact, I now have so many fine products, I may not even be able to figure out what to do with that $5,000 a week for life. How many six-compartment fanny packs can one man enjoy, after all. They call it the "forever" prize. 

 

A side note about that, by the way. 

 

When I was a little boy in Sunday School and the teacher would talk about "eternal life," it always bothered me. The idea that in eternity a person 1,000 years old would not be any closer to the end of things than a newborn was supposed to be a pleasant idea, the Publishers Clearing House Grant Prize of the Great Beyond. But it troubled me to the point I got dizzy just thinking about it. 

 

Eternity was just too big a number to process. Pick a big number. A thousand. Ten thousand. One hundred thousand. Any of that would be more than enough time, I thought. The idea of counting birthdays through the never-ending years made me weary beyond my years. 

 

That aside, I'll now be looking at putting up a big number on this side of the impenetrable veil, so as not to get short-changed on the big P.C.H. payoff. 

 

I admit I am a little hesitant to name someone to collect that 5K per week after I'm gone, though. As it is, there are already enough folks out there who want to attend my funeral without any incentive. 

 

Also, I have two kids, so I am sure you see my dilemma. 

 

But why spend time looking for the cloud in the silver lining, right? 

 

What makes being the winner of this big prize is that, at age 58, I had pretty much given up on being one of the "lucky ones." 

 

Aside from about 15 years ago, when I was picked to go on a 75-second shopping spree as part of an Arizona grocery store's 75th Anniversary celebration, I've never won anything. So when I hustled through those grocery store aisles (food items only and no more than two of any one product, lest I empty out the butcher's department) and hit the checkout with about $300 in free groceries, I thought I had exhausted my good fortune. 

 

And now here I am, just a couple of weeks away from becoming a good, by-the-boot-straps Republican. 

 

Oddly, while I've not won the Publishers Clearing House, I do know someone who has won a big sweepstakes prize. Again, this was back in Arizona when a guy named Andy Biggs won a $10 million sweepstakes and got to be on a commercial with Dick Clark and Ed McMahon, both of whom responded by promptly dying. 

 

Two years ago, Biggs was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. 

 

And, yes, he is a Republican. 

 

I'm not sure what worries me more: The concept of eternity or having to be a Republican. 

 

With every prize, there is a cost, I suppose. 

 

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

 

Slim Smith is a columnist and feature writer for The Dispatch. His email address is [email protected]

 

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